“Yep, You Need a Car to Open It”

August 2, 2006

My trip to Ohio was quite exciting. There was a lot of stuff that went down. But the trip was so exhausting; the mere thought of blogging about it made took the life out of me. Therefore, this will be the fourth and final entry about my trip. I promise.

On our last day, we took the boat from New Richman to Cincinnati. Normally this little jaunt by boat takes 45 minutes. And on that beautiful July day, it did. This would give us an hour to get back to New Richman, 30 minutes to shower and pack, and allow us to drive to the airport with an hour before our respective flights.

With the historic buildings of Cincinnati insight, the boat stopped. Jim tried to reset it and nothing. He pulled up the engine cover and worked on it for a few minutes but still nothing happened. We could not go faster than the idle speed. At that speed, we would never make it back to New Richman to get our bags before our flights left. To put it simply, we were screwed. Jim and I thought about our problem for a minute – the three other girls were sleeping or tanning in the back of the boat and it seemed like they could not be bothered with this inconvenience. We eventfully came up with the idea that our co-host in Cincinnati, Colette, would pick us up at the closest marina and drive us back to New Richman. The plan was fool proof. Jim called Colette told her the location and he dropped the three of us at the dock of the marina.

To avoid tracking in mud into the boat, we didn’t bring our shoes. And we boarded without wallets and cell phones. That didn’t seem to be the problem the other two days when we went boating but this time it did. It was a beautiful day and it was hot. Around 85 degrees and no clouds in sight. The dock was made of steel and our feet were bare. As soon as I stepped on to the dock, my feet started to burn. It was so hot. I ran across the dock and the bridge to the pavement hoping to find relief but I only found burning hot pavement. The two girls followed, daintily running in their swimsuits. I ran along the road about 50 yards until I saw the road turn into gravel. In case you were wondering, when choosing between a burning hot road and slightly cooler gravel road it’s about fifty-fifty.

Darting between the few shady spots along the gravel road I saw grass. I told the girls to stay in the grass and I would scout ahead to see if I could find the road. I saw the road alright. But it was behind a 10-foot, barbed wire fence. I walked up to the gate. And it was padlocked. I could tell gate opened but it was weight sensitive. Now I am a pretty big guy but I could not get the sensor to trip – even with me jumping up and down. We needed a car. So here we are. About 25 minutes until we had to leave New Richman to make it to the airport on time. Stuck behind a fence we cannot open. The boat had left. We had no cell phones, wallets or shoes. Plus we were about 100 yards from our pick up location. I ran back to the girls and let them know what I had found out.

The marina was pretty well deserted but after I yelled “hello” for a few minutes a young boat mechanic came out. I told him the story about how we had problems and how the gate won’t open. He looks at me and says, “Yep, you need a car to open it.” Then he walks away. I stood there in shock. In the meantime, the girls found a couple who were leaving the marina and they told us we could get in their truck and ride with them up to the road. Thank God.

The truck was air-conditioned and the carpet felt so nice on my now blistered feet. The truck smelled of stale cigarettes and I saw a pack of Newport’s on the dash. I almost asked them for a cigarette but I thought I shouldn’t push my luck. Christian music quietly played and somehow it seemed to fit. As we approached the gate, we see Colette pulling away from the driveway and heading back onto the highway. I told the man to honk and he did. But Colette didn’t hear or see us. And she drove off. The couple did as they promised and dropped us off at the road’s end.

Cars passed us on the lonely highway. We didn’t even know what the address was of the camp even if we hitched a ride. Plus, we didn’t have anyone’s phone numbers if we found a phone. So we decided to wait and hope that Colette would come back to the marina. And about 5 minutes later, she did. We rushed back, packed our bags and drove fast to the airport. We made it on time. I hadn’t showered and I was grumpy. On the plane, I sat next to a man who I began to hate more as every minute passed. It was the little things, he snored too loud, he took all of the armrest and he leaned against me instead of his wife. And when I finally drifted to sleep, he practically yells into my ear asking the flight attendant for a tissue. After I just missed my bus because of baggage claim taking forever, I made it home. I can only hope it is a long while before I go back to Ohio, a long, long while.


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